Monday, November 22, 2010

Kerala Fish Curry with Kodumpuli

This is how fish curry is made in Central and South Kerala. The main ingredient of this fish curry, other than the fish of course (haha!) is a different form of tamarind called Kudampuli(Kodukkaippuli in Tamil, also commonly known as Gambooge and scientifically named Garcinia Cambogia).

Check out details in the links below:

It is actually a fruit that grows in moist forests. It has a distinct sour taste that enhances the flavor of curries. This is how the ripe fruit looks like apparently:

The green fruit shown in the picture above is a young version, It will turn yellow when ripe. Once fully ripe, fruits are collected, cut in half, de-seeded and are sun-dried for a day. The sun-dried fruit halves are smoked till black, and are rubbed with a mixture of salt and oil before transferring to earthenware pots and tightly sealed. These will stay fresh for years. Before use, wash the pieces under running water quickly to remove any dust accumulated from the drying and smoking process, then soak these for 10 minutes in water.
 This is how the Kodumpuli looks like. This is rarely used in our part of Kerala (North Malabar region). We use the tamarind that everyone uses for Sambar and other curries for our fish and prawn curries as well. However, most of the Kerala restaurants in Chennai serve only the south Kerala style fish curry with Kodumpuli. I liked the taste and from then on, have been having this dying urge to make it. The biggest challenge was to procure this in Chennai. I have not seen it in any supermarkets in Chennai.

So the last time someone went to Kerala, I tasked them with bringing me some. Then the usual procrastination that so aptly describes me happened and these shriveled black puli pieces were left untouched for over a year.

Last week was a Seafood overdose at home. So I used this opportunity to make fish curry this style.


  • Fish (Sear/Pomfret) - 10 pieces
  • Kodumpuli - 2 pieces (soaked in warm water)
  • Shallots - 15-20, thinly sliced (do not substitute)
  • Green Chillies - 2 slit lengthwise
  • Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
  • Red Chilly powder - 1+2 tsp (for marinating and the curry)
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4+1/4 tsp (for marinating and the curry)
  • Corriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves - 2-3 sprigs
  • Ginger - 2 inch piece finely chopped
  • Garlic - 5 cloves finely chopped
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
  • Thin Coconut milk - 2 cups
  • Thick Coconut milk - 1 cup
  • Salt to taste

  •  Marinate the fish with salt, 1 tsp chilly powder and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and set aside for 2 hours.
  • Soak kodumpuli in 4 tbsp warm water for 1 hour.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan.
  • Splutter mustard seeds.
  • Splutter fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  • Add chopped shallots and green chilly and fry well.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the chopped ginger and garlic pieces.
  • Add the chilly powder, turmeric powder, corriander powder and salt and fry well.
  • Add the kodumpuli, fish pieces and thin coconut milk and cook till the fish is done.
  • When the fish is fully cooked, add the thick coconut milk and allow it to boil.
  • Remove and serve hot with rice.

Note: Usually, fish curry is made in a traditional earthenware called "Meen Chatti". I've not seen people use the spoon once the fish is added for fear of breaking them. They usually hold on to the sides of the pan and twirl it around twice or thrice for the curry to mix well. Fish curry in the Meen Chatti can be kept for days together and infact it increases its taste with each passing day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fish Mollee

Fish Moilee, Fish Mollee... however it is called is literally Fish Stew. It is prepared pretty much the same way as we prepare the vegetable stew or the mutton stew. Kerala is known for the seafood consumption and the abundance of coconut in its cuisine. So you can well imagine what would happen when the two come together exclusively for a dish!!!!

I was very curious to understand what the word Mollee meant. I googled for it, and most of the websites/blogs claim that Mole is Spanish for stew and Mollee is the "Manglicised" version of this word. I'd like to believe that because it is a very Indian thing to extend the e's (like Shoppee). I guess this was the barter system of those days - they took our spices and taught us how to cook their dishes (albeit for them).

Apparently Indian Mackeral (Ayila) is supposed to be the best one to go with Fish Molee, but you can make it with any fish. I made mine with Pomfret. It is the thick coconut milk and the mild spices that add the flavor to this. Lightly laced with pepper and made spicy with green chillies, the sweetness of the coconut milk acts as a balance, making this dish simply yummilicious! :)

Here is how I made the fish mollee this time.

  • Fish (any variety, but try not to make it with the extremely small ones like Anchovy or Sardines) - cleaned and cut - 10 pieces 
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper Powder - 2 tsp for marinating and 1 tsp for the gravy
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coconut oil - 4 tbsp
  • Curry Leaves - 3-4 sprigs
  • Small Onion/Shallots - 15-20 sliced fine
  • Green Chilly - 5 slit lengthwise
  • Tomato - 1 cut into round pieces
  • Ginger - 2 inch piece finely chopped
  • Garlic - 10 cloves slit lengthwise
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
  • Thin Coconut Milk - 2 cups
  • Thick Coconut Milk - 1-2 cups (depending on how thick it is - I used one big pack of Maggi coconut powder and dissolved it in 200 ml water.)

  • Marinate the fish with salt, turmeric powder, chilly powder and pepper powder and set aside for 1-2 hours.
  • Heat 3 tbsp coconut oil and fry them till they are cooked (this is only to avoid the fish from crumbling while cooking - hence you do not have to deep fry it)
  • Remove the fish from the pan. Discard the remaining oil. I wouldn't recommend you to use that for making the gravy as it has a weird smell.
  • In another pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add curry leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies and onions and fry till they are done.
  • Add the tomato and thin coconut milk. Add salt to taste.
  • Add the fried fish pieces and bring to boil. Cook till the fish is done.
  • Add 1 tsp garam masala powder (I wouldn't recommend Everest or MDH or Badshah - these taste best when you use them for north indian cooking - You could use Sakthi or Aachi or any south indian brand for this dish. If you have Eastern Curry powder or Chicken Masala, you could add that - it enhances the taste of the dish.
  • Mix well and ensure that the fish pieces do not crumble.
  • Add 1 tsp pepper powder.
  • Add the thick coconut milk and bring to boil till the gravy reaches the required consistency.
  • Serve hot with Appam or Idiappam.
Note: If your gravy is too thin, it is probably because the coconut milk was not thick enough. You could add 1 tsp of cornflour to thicken the gravy if you like.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chemeen Thoran - Shrimp/Prawn Masala with coconut

This one is an all time favorite.... I can just eat this - truckloads. It is very spicy, has loads of onions and coconut that gives it the ability to tickle all the varied taste buds. The bigger the prawn, the better it tastes. This can be made in a variety of preparation styles, which I would eventually post here, but this time I had this craving to eat this one and so it was. I did modify the traditional recipe a wee bit... I found an Andhra prawn masala recipe in one of the blogs and I added some extra ingredients based on that. My mother makes this dish devoid of the extra  bit and as you read the recipe, I will tell you which ingredients are a part of the original recipe and which are my inclusions.

The problem with prawns or rather the difficulty in cooking them lies with the initial cleaning and deveining part. Once that is done and you have clean meat in your bowl that's ready to cook, you can churn out wonders. My husband and mom are so fond of prawns that everytime we go out for a meal, we would invariably end up ordering atleast one dish.

It was only the week before that I saw some pics on my ex-colleague's Facebook album - that had yummy prawns and fish curry - I was so tempted that I asked for the recipes and very sweetly, his wife sent me all the recipes immediately. I wanted to make the recipe that she had suggested but that had tomato sauce in it and I was not sure if my in-laws who are visiting me would like a different taste. So i decided to stick to the traditional Thoran (obviously with a few modifications from my end).

Here are the key ingredients that I used:
  • Prawns - de-veined and cleaned - 1 kg
  • Shallots (Small/Sambar Onions)- 300 gms
  • Green Chillies - 4-5 (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
  • Coconut - 1/2 to 3/4 grated (depends on how much you like)
  • Curry Leaves - 3-4 sprigs
  • Ginger finely chopped - 2 inch piece
  • Garlic chopped lengthwise - 10-15 cloves
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1 tsp (adjust it according to your spice level)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil - 4-5 tbsp (you can reduce it)
  • Tamarind Paste - 1/2 tsp or Kudam Puli - 1/2 piece *(Optional)
For marinating the prawns (to be ground to a fine paste):
  • Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp*(Optional)
  • Poppy Seeds (Khus Khus) - 1 tsp *(Optional)
  • Cashew nuts - 1/2 cup *(Optional)
  • Cinnamon - 1 small piece *(Optional)
  • Clove - 1 *(Optional)
Note - The items marked *(Optional) are my additions - traditionally, my parents never added these to the Chemeen Thoran. I wanted to make some variations and hence this. You can prepare it without all these 4 ingredients and trust me, it will only taste yummier!

  • Marinate the prawns with the ingredients above and set aside for 2 hours
  • Heat coconut oil in a vessel, splutter mustard seeds.
  • Add curry leaves, chopped shallots, green chillies, ginger and garlic and fry well.
  • Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt and fry well.
  • Add the marinated prawns and mix well.
  • You may add the tamarind paste or the kudam puli if you want a tangy flavor in the dish.
  • Do not add water as the prawns will bring out water.
  • Cook covered till the prawns are done.
  • Dry the excess water and add grated coconut and mix well.
  • You can remove the Kudam Puli piece after cooking, if you have added it.
  • That's it - Tasty Chemmeen Thoran is ready to be served with rice and roti's!

Note: Apart from cleaning and de-veining the prawns, the tough parts would be to peel and chop the shallots and grate the coconut. An easier alternative would be to use normal onions and exclude the coconut and maybe you may want to substitute the coconut oil with your regular cooking oil - but trust me, it will lose the authentic flavor.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fish Fry

This ain't rocket science, and really, I need not post it here cos all of you  know how to fry it. Well, I just wanted to break the jinx of  not being able to post whatever I have been wanting to, and the best way to do it would be with a post where I have less of writing and more of pics to show.

Fish Fry can be made with practically any fish. Rather I'd have to say, any type of fish can be fried. There are different variations of spices that are added to marinate it and this differs from region to region and cuisine to cuisine.

Pomfret(Avoli in Malayalam) and Sear Fish (Nei Meen in Malayalam and Vanjaram in Tamil) are undoubtedly the hot favorites, albeit expensive. You do not have to encounter too many bones, the meat is fleshy and it marinates well.

This is what you would find in most of the restaurants that serve fish fry. But, the homes in rural Kerala use smaller varieties of fish on a day to day basis, and when I say day to day basis, I really mean it... They cannot live without fish curry every single day.

I still remember my childhood summer vacations at my grandmothers place. There used to be one or two regular fish vendors, who'd carry the fish in baskets on their head. These day's they come in motor cycles or at least plain cycles. I'll try to get a pic of one of them when I visit Kerala next. They used to make a specific sound, akin to the coo of a bird. You could hear them from far off those days, because the number of houses in our locality were very less.What was the most interesting part for me as a child was that even the pet cats in the house would get ready for the fish vendor the minute they heard their call. As a child, it used to fascinate me to see the open mouthed fish lying in the baskets when the elders in the house would bargain with the fish vendor, their standard line being, "Ah, your fish is so expensive, XX was willing to give it to me at this price". What interested me further was that it was this fish vendor's visit that helped me get closer to the cats at home. I would always insist on buying one or two pieces of fish more than what my grandma bought, simply to feed the cats. Hmm!!!! Nostalgic indeed!

The other varieties of fish that I like as fried are Sardines (Mathi in Malayalam and Tamil), Indian Mackerel (Aila in Malayalam and Tamil, Indian Salmon (Kaala in Malayalam and Tamil) and Anchovy (Nethili in Malayalam and Tamil). I used to struggle with the fish names in any language earlier because I hated buying them here. Buying them in Chennai meant going to the dirty fish markets where you'd have more flies than fish, walking through muddy, dirty slushy water and much more. Now, with various stores like Reliance Delight, Fish and Fresh, Fish Shoppee etc selling fresh fish, buying them has become way easier. I researched on fish names and found this link that gives me names of fish in Malayalam and English.

 Well, so much for all the talk on fish names, here is how I made this fish fry.

  • Sear Fish - 4 slices
  • Red Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp (or to taste)
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil - for deep frying
  • Lemon Juice - 1 tsp

  • Make a paste of the spice powders and lemon juice. Make sure you do not add too much water as it will become difficult to fry them.
  • Marinate for 2 hours.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan.
  • Place the marinated fish and fry on low with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  • Turn over and repeat.
  • Remove and drain excess oil and serve.

Haha, I told you... making the fish fry is very very simple. I just needed to write and hence this post. Well, have fun with your fish fry and trust me, nothing tastes better than fish fry with just about any dish in the world.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Choco Walnut Brownie

Ever since I changed my old microwave and bought a new one with Convection facility, I've been telling myself that I would bake soon (a.k.a tomorrow). Well, it was really a case of If tomorrow comes! I had one reason after the other to put it off... first I said I did not have baking utensils... so S took me to a store and I purchased all of that. Then I said I don't have the ingredients... and well, in the last 2-3 visit to the supermarkets and BrownTree (a store similar to Nuts and Spices) I managed to get more ingredients than required , then I said I was researching on good recipes, kept searching online, ordered for a Sanjeev Kapoor book from Landmark and then my chant was that I did not have time.. finally, S started taunting me about the baking, so I decided to shut his mouth by baking something. I decided to make a brownie, as it was the easiest and it is something I love the most. This recipe is from Sanjeev Kapoor's Cakes and Bakes and I have followed it religiously because I read somewhere that the success to baking lies in using the exact quantity and measure of ingredients.

So here is how this brownie is made:

  • Dark Cooking Chocolate - 100gms
  • Refined Flour - 1 cup
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Butter - 90 gms
  • Caster Sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Eggs - 2
  • Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
  • Walnut - Peeled and chopped - 1/2 cup
  • Butter for greasing the tray

  • Sift the flour and baking powder together
  • Double boil the chocolate and butter together (Here is how I did it - I used one huge vessel to boil water, placed the chocolate and butter in a smaller vessel and lowered it inside the vessel of boiling water. Make sure that the water does not enter the smaller container with the chocolate and butter. It should take around 10 minutes for the chocolate to get melted)
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla essence to blend well.
  • Mix the sifted flour and walnuts to this mixture.
  • Add the melted chocolate and butter and fold in well.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
  • Grease the baking tray with butter and pour the batter in it.
  • Bake at 180 ° for 40-45 minutes.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Upturn into a plate, cut and serve.
And that is how my first baking attempt was :-). The biggest credit I received is that my young daughter loved it and had one piece fully (its otherwise a huge challenge to get her to eat). So I am guessing I made it pretty well :)

That's it from me for now. Please leave notes/tips on baking so that I can use it to hone this side of my culinary instinct.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mushroom Biryani

This is a combination of the Malabar Egg Biryani recipe I'd posted earlier (which itself was taken from Mishmash's post Egg Biryani Finally Makes It to the Hall of Fame ) and the Brinji Rice that my cook makes when we are out of other options. I made a variation of the elaborate biryani masala (in a not so elaborate way). Here is how I made this afternoon's mushroom biryani.
For the Rice 


  • Basmati Rice - 2 cups
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Coconut Milk - 1 cup
(Add water/coconut milk in a 1:2 ratio; if the coconut milk is too thick, adjust the water accordingly)
  • Shajeera - 2 tsp
  • Bayleaf - 2
  • Cloves - 3-4
  • Star Anise - 2
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
  • Chilly Paste - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste 
  • Yellow Food Color - a pinch 
  • Ghee - 3tbsp
  • Wash the basmati rice well and soak it in water for 20 mins.
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan (I used my pressure cooker itself)
  • Splutter the shajeera (you could use normal jeera if you dont have this), add the bay leaf, cloves and star anise and fry for 30 seconds. 
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and the green chilly paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the rice and fry for 1 min.
  • Add salt and the food color.
  • Add 3 glasses of water and 1 glass of coconut milk and cook uncovered till the rice is almost done (By now the water would have evaporated and the rice would have been 80% cooked) - Take care not to add too much water;esp if the coconut milk is thick, you may want to reduce the water. The taste of the biryani is lost if the rice is over or under cooked.
  • Set aside

For the Biriyani Masala:

  • Onions - 2 large ones thinly sliced
  • Tomatoes- 3 big ones (I had very small ones, so I used 5)
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste - 2 tbsp
  • Green Chilly Paste - as per taste (I made it out of 8 green chillies as I like it spicy)
  • Biriyani Masala - 3 tbsp (a coarsely ground powder of the below ingredients)
    • Cloves - 4-5
    • Green Cardamom - 2
    • Black Cardamom - 1
    • Cinnamon Stick - 2
    • Jeera - 1 tsp
    • Shajeera - 2 tsp
    • Star Anise - 2
    • Nutmeg - 1/2
    • Nutmace - 1/2
    • Saunf (Perunjeeragam) - 1 tsp
    • Peppercorns - 4-5
  • Mushroom - Cut into 2
  • Peas - 1 cup
  • Potatoes - 2 or 3
  • Sour Curd/Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Mint Leaves - a handful
  • Curry Leaves - 2-3 sprigs
  • I also added 1 tsp of Sakthi Biryani Masala as I had an opened packet
  • Ghee - 3 tbsp
  • Gingelly Oil - 2 tsp (it enhances the flavour)
  • Any other veggies you want
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan.
  • Fry the onions till translucent
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears
  • Add the chilly paste and fry well
  • Add the tomatoes and cook till they are mushy.
  • Add the biryani masala, salt, mushrooms and other vegetables along with the mint and curry leaves and cook covered (You may want to add a little water here-not too much as the veggies and tomatoes will bring out water on their own)
  • When the mushrooms and veggies are cooked, add sour curd and cook till dry.
 For the Seasoning (Deep fry all the above individually in ghee/oil and set aside)
  • Onions - 2 big thinly sliced
  • Brown Raisins
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Ghee/Oil - for frying

Finally, making the biriyani

  • This is a fairly simple step. All you have to do is layer it in a thick bottomed vessel. 
  • Add a little ghee , place one layer of the masala, sprinkle some masala powder and fried seasoning and then layer it with the almost cooked basmati rice.
  • Then  repeat the process (Veggie masala, masala powder, seasoning and then rice).
  • Cover the vessel with a lid and then wrap it with a piece of cloth so that the steam does not escape (I had to use the help of my heavy chapati rolling stone and roller for this). 
  • Cook this biryani on Dum for 15-20 minutes on low flame. 
  • After setting it aside for another 20 minutes, open the lid and mix the biryani.
  • It is now ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pasta Quickie ( with Capsicum and Onions in a creamy tomato base)

You could prepare an elaborate pasta or a fairly quick one like this one. The original recipe from my friend G is yummy and elaborate... includes cheese, cream, milk and the works. What happens when you don't have some of the ingredients??? You make a quickie pasta like the one I made. I had no clue what to make for dinner last night. I then remembered seeing some elbow pasta stowed away in one of my containers. I sold the idea of pasta for dinner to my dearest husband (he is not too fond of pasta). After convincing him, a bigger problem arose... I did not have any other ingredients (like veggies, cheese etc). I still braved the hardships and made this quickie with whatever I could find. Here is how I made this.

  •  Pasta of your choice (Penne or Fusille are my favs) - 100 gms
  • Tomato Puree - 100 ml
  • Fresh Cream - 100 ml
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
  • Capsicum - 1 cut into long pieces
  • Onion - 1 cut into long slices
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Any other veggies you may want to add (Corn, Peas, Olives, Mushrooms are my favs again)
  • Salt and Pepper

  • Boil the pasta and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic paste.
  • Add capsicum and onions and toss well.
  • Add the tomato puree and cook covered for 2-3 mins
  • Add the cream and mix well.
  • Add the seasoning, salt and pepper and cook covered for another 2 mins.
  • Add the pasta and mix well.
  • Your pasta is ready to be served.
Variations - You could add cheese, milk and a host of other veggies. Regulating the amount of cream or tomato puree will give you the kind of sauce you prefer. If you are not too fond of cream or are health conscious(unlike me),  you could cut out the cream and the cheese and add a bit of skimmed milk to the tomato puree and garlic paste and cook.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Malabar Style Kayi Vattan

This recipe probably got its name because the Raw plantain(Kayi) is cut into circular pieces (Vattan). The only reasoning I can think of, probably its the truth too. This is an accompaniment prepared in our parts of Kerala for Kanji (Rice Gruel) along with Cheru payar Puzhuku and Chammanthi. (I'll post those recipes when I take pics of them)

Plantain tree's are grown everywhere in Kerala. You cannot find a house that does not have one. The tree itself is one of the most used utility by Keralites (We use the stem, the flower, the raw fruit, the ripe fruit and the leaves). The only thing we've probably spared is the root.

I always thought making Kayi Vattan was rocket science. I couldn't understand how they made it. Recently, I had my brother in law over for lunch. I wanted to prepare something absolutely mallu, so I called my mother for this recipe. And needless to say, its very simple. Here is how we make it.

  • Raw Plantain - 2
  • Garlic - 5-8 cloves
  • Red Chilly - 2-3
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Grated Coconut - 1/2 shell
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1 or 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
  • Peel the plantain in a way that only the outer layer of the peel is removed. You should not peel it completely. Just remove the fibrous part of the peel and let the remaining stay on.
  • Cut the plantain into circular pieces.
  • Cook it with very little water, turmeric, chilly powder and salt till done.
  • When done, dry it completely to drain the water.
  • Crush grated coconut and curry leaves coarsely with your hand. Add salt to this and add this mixture to the cooked plantains.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds fry the garlic and then add red chilly and curry leaves.
  • Add this tadka to the boiled plantain and coconut mix and your accompaniment is ready.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spicy Kerala Prawn Curry

I got this recipe from my friend Smita. She had posted a photo of this prawn curry on her album and the next instant I was asking her for the recipe. She gave me a fairly simple recipe and I was sure it was not it... The curry looked way too tempting to be this simple a preparation.


  • Prawns - De veined and cleaned - 500 gms
For the marinade:
  • Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder - 2 tsp
  • Corriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
For the gravy
  • Shallots - 300 gms
  • Green Chillies - 2-3 (as per taste)
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
  • Grated Coconut - 4-5 tbsp
  • Tamarind - size of a lemon (or as per taste)
  • Garam Masala Powder - 2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil - 3 tsp

  • Marinate the cleaned and deveined prawns with the masala mentioned above and set aside for an hour.
  • Soak tamarind in water and extract pulp.
  • Grind the coconut to a fine paste and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and splutter mustards.
  • Add shallots, chilly and fry till translucent.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add tamarind pulp, ground coconut and bring to boil.
  • Add the prawns, and the remaining dry masalas and cook till prawns are soft and tender.
  • Add curry leaves and remove from the stove.

The spicy prawn curry is ready.  Serve hot with rice or dosa.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chammanthi Podi - Spicy Coconut Powder

This is the mallu equivalent for Andhra Pappu Podi - yeah, when it is the mallu equivalent, it goes without saying that it is loaded with coconut. This podi, called the Chammanthi Podi is made from coconuts and other spices. Chammanthi is the mallu term for Chutney/Thogayal in Tamil. We make varieties of Chammanthi's to go along with rice and Kanji (rice gruel - a staple mallu food). If I am not mistaken, we have one Chammanthi made out of every seasonal veggie that we know of. My favourite ones are the ones made with Ginger, Garlic and Raw Mango. I can have Rice and that Chammanthi for days together without getting bored. Add a papadam to it and it becomes a wholesome meal :-)

This Chammanthi Podi though is predominantly a south Kerala preparation (that's what I was led to believe as my parents are not too aware of this yet). I googled and borrowed this recipe from various blogs and prepared my desired concoction yday. Here is how I made it.

  • Grated Coconut - 1 shell
  • Red Chilly - 15 nos.
  • Ginger - 2" piece
  • Garlic - 5-6 cloves
  • Shallots - 15-20
  • Curry Leaves- a handful
  • Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Split Urud Dal - 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut oil - 2 tsp
  • Tamarind - small ball
  • Salt - to taste
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan.
  • Add red chillies and fry.
  • Slowly add all other ingredients one by one and finally add the coconut.
  • Fry till all items are brown and crispy.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Dry grind them with salt.
  • Preserve in an airtight container.
Note: You could fry and grind the items separately but you need to make a larger quantity to be able to do that. The problem when you grind them together is that the shallots, garlic and ginger bring out moisture that makes this look more of a chutney than a chutney powder.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Malabar Prawn Curry

My husband loves prawns, but we rarely buy them because of the smell they emit when being cooked and the tedious proceedue of deveining them and cleaning them up. The last time we went to the supermarket, I found a packet of freshly cleaned prawns for sale. So I picked it up and tried my hand at the prawn curry that my mother and mother in law make so deliciously (BTW, my father and father in law are better cooks than their respective spouses).

I was never too fond of the prawns curry till before my marriage. I always prefered Prawn prepared in the "Thoran" style with lots of onions and coconut. Husband dear on the other hand is an ardent lover of the prawn curry. So now, everytime there is prawns at my mom's place, its this preparation that my better half so loves. Here is the recipe I picked from my mom.

  • Prawns - 1/2 kg, deveined & cleaned
  • Raw Mango - 1/2 piece
  • Tamarind - the size of a lemon
  • Coconut - 1/2 shell grated
  • Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 2 1/2 tsp
  • Onion - 1 cut into long slices
  • Tomato (optional) - 1
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Green Chilly - 3-4 slit lengthwise
  • Sour Curd - 3 tbsp
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
  • Marinate the prawns with turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt
  • Add onion, ginger. raw mango and green chilly to the marinated prawns and set aside for 2 hours.
  • Soak the tamarind in water to extract the pulp.
  • Grind grated coconut with the curd and cumin seeds to a fine paste (It is this consistency that decides how good your curry is going to be - so take care!)
  • Cook the marinated prawns in the tamarind pulp till soft.
  • Add the ground cocunut and curd mix and bring to boil. 
  • Add salt to taste, curry leaves and a little bit of coconut oil and remove from stove.
  • Serve with Rice or Dosa.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kadala Curry (Black Chickpeas in coconut gravy)

Puttu and Kadala Curry is one of the most prominent breakfast items in Kerala. Puttu is made by steaming Rice Flour along with grated coconut and salt. There is a special mould available in the market. I picked mine from Guruvayoor. The success of your puttu lies in the consistency in which you mix salt, water and rice flour. It should not be too dry or too watery. To be frank, I do not know the consistency yet. I got my mother to mix the flour. All I had to do is put copious amount of coconut and flour in the mould and steam it.

Well, the Kadala curry is my preparation though. I undertook a laborious method of preparation today. (My mother does it in a jiffy). Here is how I prepared the Kadala Curry this morning.

  • Black Kadala (Black Chickpeas/Channa) - soaked overnight - 2 cups
  • Potato - 1 (optional)
  • Onion - 1 big
  • Shallots - 10-15
  • Tomato - 1 big
  • Green Chilly - 2
  • Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp (or as per taste)
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Peppercorn - 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Grated Coconut - 1 cup
  • Coconut pieces - 2 tbsp
  • Coconut Milk - 200 ml (thick)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut oil - 3 tbsp

  • Soak Kadala (black chickpeas / channa) overnight.
  • Pressure cook Channa, potatp(optional) with half an onion cut into thin slices and 2 green chillies slit vertically. Add a pinch of turmeric powder before you pressure cook it.
  • Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a pan.
  • Splutter Cumin seeds (jeera) and add the grated coconut. Fry till brown,
  • Add corriander powder, red chilly powder, garam masala, pepper, ginger garlic paste and fry till the aroma of cooked masala arises.
  • Add the other half of the onion and half of the tomato and saute well.
  • Cool and grind to a fine paste with some boiled chick peas.
  • Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a pan.
  • Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter.
  • Add the chopped coconut slices and fry till brown.
  • Add half the curry leaves and shallots and fry well.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook till done.
  • Add the ground paste to this and fry well.
  • Add boiled chickpease and potato mixture without their stock.
  • Add sufficient water, curry leaves and salt and bring to boil.
  • Add coconut milk and bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from flame and serve with Puttu or Appam.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Chutney


Let me start with how I thought of this chutney in the first place. My colleague N who hails from Andhra Pradesh, brought to office one day, a ginger chutney that was out of this world. Promptly I asked for the recipe and she just replied saying grind ginger, chilly and jaggery together. That inspired me to add jaggery to the next chutney I made and it so happened that we had Rava Idli's for breakfast yesterday. So it was the ideal time to try this chutney. I'll let you in on what all I used for this.

  • Shallots - 15
  • Tomato - 1
  • Green Chilly - 2
  • Red Chilly - 2
  • Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
  • Corriander Leaves - 1/4 bunch (2-3 stalks)
  • Tamarind - i inch piece
  • Garlic - 10 cloves
  • Ginger - 2 inch piece
  • Jaggery - the size of a tennis ball
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add shallots, curry leaves, green and red chillies, ginger and garlic and fry well.
  • Add tomato, salt and cook covered till the tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add curry leaves and corriander leaves and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Cool, grind with tamarind and jaggery.

  • Add more salt if requred and serve.

Rava Idli (Semilona Idli/Pancake)

Till date I've made Rava Idli's with the ready made MTR mix that is available in the stores. This time around, I decided to try making the batter myself based on a recipe I'd read earlier in some blog. So here is how I made it.

  • Rava (Semilona) - 1 cup
  • Onion - 1
  • Green Chilly - 2
  • Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
  • Corriander Leaves - 1 small bunch
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Split Urud Dal - 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal - 1 tsp
  • Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Curd (Yogurt)- 200 ml (maybe lesser, ensure the batter is not too thick or too watery)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Splutter mustards, urud dal and channa dal.
  • When cooked, add curry leaves and finely chopped green chillies.
  • Add finely chopped onions and fry till translucent.
  • Add cashew nuts and fry them till brown.
  • Add the rava and roast till it starts browning.
  • Add corriander leaves and remove.
  • Let it cool. Add curd (yogurt) and mix well till the batter is in a slightly thick consistency.
  • Ensure the batter does not run too much, else idli's will not get cooked.
  • Set this batter for 60-90 minutes.
  • Steam in your regular idli cooker for 15-20 minutes (depends on the type of cooker you  have).
  • Garnish with shredded carrots and serve with Chutney.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bread Masala

Let me start with a confession. I did not make this dish this time. This time around, it was my husband who made it. But I still shamelessly clicked the pictures. It makes an interesting blog entry you see.This is apparently a street food item that is sold in his native home town Manipal.

Manipal is loaded with students - it boasts of the finest medical, engineering and management schools. It is a favored destination by NRI students. Though it sounds like a sleepy hamlet, its abuzz with such kind of activities, stalls and night life. I've not yet tasted the bread masala sold on the streets, but my husband always makes a close replica (as certified by his family), so I am assuming the street food is yum as well. Here is how it is made.


  • Bread - 6-8 slices
  • Egg - 2
  • Onion - 1 big
  • Tomato - 2
  • Green Chilly - 2-3
  • Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Ginger (Chopped) - 1 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Corriander Leaf - 1 handful chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil -  2 tbsp
  • Remove the sides from the bread and cut into squares
  • Beat the egg till fluffy,
  • Chop onions, tomatoes, chillies into fine pieces
  • Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds.
  • Add the ginger and green chilly and fry well.
  • Add the onions and fry till translucent
  • Add the tomatoes and cook covered till tomatoes are done.
  • Heat the dish till all the water from the tomatoes has evaporated.
  • Add the beaten egg, turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt and scramble till half done.
  • Add the cut bread slices and mix well.
  • Cook till the eggs are fully done.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

Enjoy your Bread Masala! You could try variations in this by adding veggies of ur choice or Corn n Peas (My favorites). You could also try variations with the masala used - maybe chaat masala or Pav Bhaji Masala available in the market would be good as well. Not sure, haven't tried that yet!

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